February 24, 2024

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Some educators worry about new technology that writes like a human

NIAGARA FALLS, NY (WKBW) — With our “Eye on Education,” there are concerns a new piece of technology known as ChatGPT could make it easy for students to cheat on school work.  

The artificial intelligence system was launched five weeks ago.

ChatGPT is the latest in artificial intelligence generating writing like a human.

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ChatGPT webpage.

I tried to access the website but this message appears that it’s at capacity and currently down because of huge demand.

The software is a free tool that can create text for students based on questions they ask and could directly be placed into a school paper, essay, or homework assignment and avoid critical thinking.    

Niagara Falls City Schools Superintendent Mark Laurrie tells me his district will be trying to block any use of CHATGPT

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Niagara Falls City Schools Superintendent Mark Laurrie .

“We know that it’s out there. We’re putting those blockers in place to make sure that it’s stopped in the school building. But that doesn’t preclude anybody from using it at home or somewhere else when they’re trying to respond,” explained Laurrie. 

“Of the technology — I feel like more of like, you know, just it coming from my brain and me I feel like it’d be more you know, more genuine more like, just more and more productive,” remarked James Robinson, senior, Niagara Falls High School. 

Robinson says it’s better for students to try to write for themselves based on the research they conduct.  

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James Robinson, senior, Niagara Falls High School. 

“Sometimes I’ll take —  some paragraphs off of like some websites like Wikipedia —  or anything like that — and I basically just put it in my own words, kind of something like that,” Robinson noted. 

Teachers now must have a keen eye out for potential cheaters using the software.  

“But the key to this is knowing your children, knowing your students, and knowing what’s authentic and what’s not authentic,” replied Laurrie. 

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Student reading book in Niagara Falls classroom.

“And that pressure then lies on the educator?” Buckley questioned.  “It does — it really comes back to the individual teacher knowing his or her children and knowing what they’re capable of and not and you know, one writing sample is not going to be indicative of a grade or indicative of their work,” responded Laurrie. “Knowing what’s authentic and what’s not authentic.”

“Yes, I’ve used it and I think it has a lot of potential to extend and deepen our thinking,” described Colin Dabkowski, teacher, Alden Central School District.

Alden High School English and Media teacher told me he has been using the new software with students to help in their learning.

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Colin Dabkowski, teacher, Alden Central School District.

“We have to be ready for this new challenge because it’s going to be a fact of life now like calculators were fact a life earlier in the 20th century and people stuck their heads in the sand about that and look at us now — we have to not be scared. We have to understand how we can use these things as tools,” Dabkowski commented. 

But Dabkowski said educators will need to watch for potential cheating.

“Untraceable plagiarism — shortcuts that don’t help students develop their critical thinking skills,”  Dabkowski stated. 

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Niagara Falls High School classroom.

The New York City School District said it is banning the use of the software for the school’s networks and devices. 

“Due to concerns about negative impacts on student learning, and concerns regarding the safety and accuracy of content, access to ChatGPT is restricted on new york city public schools’ networks and devices. while the tool may be able to provide quick and easy answers to questions, it does not build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for academic and lifelong success.”

New York City Department of Education

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Niagara Falls High School student.

We did reach out to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) for comment. They responded by saying it will be up to the individual local school districts to decide on allowing the use of the software. 


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